A partnership hoping to buy the bingo license held by a businessman with reputed ties to organized crime figures pledged yesterday to make an honest business out of his Brooklyn Park bingo hall.
"You have five people applying to you here with stellar backgrounds, who are saying they're going to run this business the way it should be run," said attorney Price Gielen.
Gielen and three other partners in a Baltimore law firm, Richard Rubin, Michael Quinn and Isaac Neuberger, as well as Ernest J. Litty,a Millersville developer, testified yesterday before the Amusement License Commission. The commission is reviewing their application to take over the license held by Stephen B. Paskind at Bingo World on Belle Grove Road.
Gielen said Paskind retained the law firm in the fall of 1990 to represent him in the sale of the license. He said the firm resigned as counsel when members decided to purchase it themselves.
"We now have a relationship with Mr. Paskind as a buyer and seller only," he said.
Quinn said the group will pay $4.2 million forthe license, with the payment coming out of the profits from the bingo hall, which attracts about 600 patrons a night and operates seven nights a week.
Litty said he was brought in by the law firm as a partner and day-to-day manager. He said all but a few of the hall's 63employees would be retained and that he intends to hire a retired Internal Revenue Service supervisor to go over the operation's books and make sure it is run honestly.
But commission members said they are concerned about the details contained in the 3-inch-thick files spelling out specifics of the transaction.
"I think the exotic nature of the transaction definitely raises concerns," said John Klocko III, commission chairman.
According to testimony, the fledgling partnership has set up two corporations to take over the operation. The five partners also have no personal liability if the business fails, and they are being permitted by Paskind to spread the payments over 30years, if necessary.
The partners said they expect to complete the purchase in about six years.
But commission members argued that such a transaction theoretically makes Paskind a shadow partner in the operation because he will continue to have a stake in its profits. That could lead to problems later, members said.